Do Your Hiring Processes Earn You Money or Cost You?

Let’s play “Recruiting Monopoly.” As you’ll see, there are a number of critical stages in this game that correspond to the recruiting and hiring processes at most companies. You’ll start the game with $500 from the bank. If your hiring processes are really good, you’ll be able to win more than $3,000 (an ROI of 600 percent!). But if your hiring processes aren’t too good, you could go bankrupt before the first person gets hired — and go directly to jail. You’ll have to play the game a second time in order to hire another great person. This could get costly if your hiring processes are consistently a losing proposition. Let’s get started and see how well you do. Remember, you’ve got $500 at the start of the game.

Step 1: The Use of a Workforce Plan

A workforce plan is an annual forecast of hiring needs by position, by quarter. A plan like this gives you a three-to-six-month lead time on using all available sourcing channels to find top people. You earn $200 if you have a workforce plan in place and lose $100 if you don’t have one. Give yourself another $200 if you update this forecast quarterly. Forecast-to-forecast changes provide instant information about what’s going on in your business and what’s going to happen.

Step 2: The Quality of Your Job Requisitions

If you use traditional job descriptions that rely too heavily on skills, academics, and experiences, you lose $50. If you can’t obtain consensus from everyone on the hiring team as to real job needs before you start interviewing candidates, you lose another $50. If you suffer moving-job-spec syndrome, you lose another $50. If managers say they’ll know the person when they see him or her, you lose another $50. If recruiters can’t get enough time with the hiring manager to discuss the job, you lose another $50. You earn $250 if everyone on the hiring team is in agreement about the responsibilities and challenges involved in the job before they interview anyone. Getting consensus upfront is how you obtain consensus at the end. An article on performance profiles might help in this area.

Step 3a: Sourcing and Finding Top Active Candidates

If you’re an employer of choice with great candidates coming to your door without you doing any work, you don’t even need to play this game. For everyone else, if your jobs are easy to find using a Google or Yahoo! search — and don’t require candidates to go to a job board or directly to your website — you earn $100. Give yourself $50 if top candidates can very simply find your jobs at the top of the list just by putting in the city and job title. You earn $50 if your jobs have unique titles combined with compelling copy. You lose $100 if you do not have any of the above. You lose $50 if the first line on the job description is the requisition number. You lose another $50 if the ad copy emphasizes skills and experiences rather than opportunities.

Step 3b: Sourcing and Finding Top Passive and Diversity Candidates

Give yourself $100 if you have the ability to generate the names of top passive and diversity candidates through sources like Internet data-mining, competitive intelligence, or online networking tools such as ZoomInfo and LinkedIn. You lose $200 if you don’t do this step or if you can’t convert these names into a steady stream of great candidates. You win $100 if you can convince most of the people you network with to give you more names of highly qualified referrals. You earn another $100 if you spend more time calling these referrals and getting more referrals than you do working the original cold list of names. An article on networking might be useful.

Step 3c: The Use of Employee Referral Programs to Find Top Candidates

You earn $100 for having a professional and well-marketed employee referral program that consistently delivers strong candidates. Using Jobster qualifies here if everyone on your team uses it regularly. You earn $100 if recruiters personally and proactively solicit the names of top people from your top employees. You lose $200 if you don’t have a well-managed employee referral program in place that generates at least 20 percent of all new hires.

Sourcing Bonus!

Collect $500 if you have a consistent supply of top people for every important position.

Step 4: An Effective Interview and Assessment Process

You lose $100 if every interviewer interviews their own way. You lose $100 if you string a bunch of 30-minute interviews together. You lose $100 if your managers make instant decisions based on first impressions or gut feelings. You lose $100 if one superficial “no” vote can override the collective judgment of two or three other interviewers. You win $100 if all managers use a structured interview of some type and if they are trained and certified. You win $100 if there is some formal written assessment process in place that prevents superficial assessments. You win another $100 if this assessment is used in combination with a formal debriefing session with all interviewers before anyone makes a “yes” or “no” decision. You win $100 if top people come out of the interviewing process and feel they have been thoroughly evaluated. You win another $100 if these same candidates understand the job and specific challenges associated with the job.

Go Directly to Jail! Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200.

You lose half of the winnings you’ve accumulated thus far if you have to do searches over again more than 50 percent of the time. If good candidates get rejected for the wrong reasons and you need to find more candidates, you’re wasting your time. One slate of three to four candidates should suffice for any search. Some of the problems here include lack of consensus on real job needs as well as weak interviewing skills. If you have no winnings, stay in jail.

Step 5: Recruit, Negotiate, and Close

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You lose $50 if you focus too much on compensation and not enough on the reach of the job and career growth. You lose $50 if more than 50 percent of candidates say “I have to think about it” when you extend an offer. You lose another $50 if you don’t know why you lost the previous $50. You lose $50 if you ask candidates if they’d relocate on the first call. You lose $100 if more than 30 percent of good candidates exclude themselves from consideration at anytime before the offer stage. You lose $50 if you can’t convince candidates they should take the job with just a modest salary increase. You earn $100 if 80 percent of the best candidates you want to attract are willing to stay involved through the whole assessment process. You earn $100 if you close 80 percent of your best candidates who have multiple opportunities with fair offers. An article on negotiating compensation will help here.

Step 6: Post-Offer Challenges

You lose $100 if more than 25 percent of your candidates who have accepted offers either don’t show up, accept counter-offers, or accept offers from other companies. You earn $100 if this happens less than 10 percent of the time. You earn $100 if you have a pre-boarding process in place during the period when the candidate accepts the offer, but before starting. This includes one or two formal meetings or discussions with the hiring manager.

Step 7: Onboarding

You earn $100 if you have an effective on-boarding process in place and lose $100 if you don’t. An effective on-boarding process includes training as necessary, a formal process to ensure that candidates have a clear understanding of job expectations before they start doing the job, and the preparation of some type of development program to ensure on-the-job success.

Step 8: Management and Development

You earn $200 if you have mostly good hires in combination with good managers and a formal staff development program. You lose $200 if managers aren’t as involved as they need to be in ensuring the success of their newly hired team members. Weak management is the primary cause of good hires gone bad.

Step 9: Talent Performance

You lose $500 if too many top people leave too soon for dumb reasons like weak management, inadequate resources, or the work not being consistent with candidates were told it would be. In this case, everything you’ve done has been a pure waste of time. You win $1,000 if most top people perform as predicted during the interview (that is, extremely well), if they are highly motivated, if they work well with others, if they have the potential to grow, and if they attract other top people. After all, this is the whole point of the game.

How Well Did You Do in Recruiting Monopoly?

What’s the ROI of your hiring process — your total winnings divided by the initial $500 as a percent? A properly functioning recruiting and hiring process should have an ROI of at least 100 percent. You’re really in trouble if you went bankrupt. In this case: Go directly to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. But who cares? After all, it’s just a game…

Lou Adler is the CEO and founder of The Adler Group – a training and search firm helping companies implement Performance-based Hiring℠. Adler is the author of the Amazon top-10 best-seller, Hire With Your Head (John Wiley & Sons, 3rd Edition, 2007). His most recent book has just been published, The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired (Workbench, 2013). He is also the author of the award-winning Nightingale-Conant audio program, Talent Rules! Using Performance-based Hiring to Build Great Teams (2007).